As the Department of Radiology Research Foundation has become a very important part of the department’s research initiative program, it was felt by board members that there should be a brief written history of the Foundation’s inception to serve as a reminder of the first initiative and a summary of the process leading to its charitable status with Revenue Canada. It was felt that the history of the Foundation’s origin should be available on the Department’s web site.

Department of Radiology Research

Two consecutive Dalhousie Department of Radiology periodic survey reports, the last of which was May 1980, complimented the department for its teaching programs and for its quality clinical contributions but its commitment to research weak and that efforts should be made to correct this deficiency. In 1981 Dr. David Fraser was asked to accept the chairmanship of the university department as well as the headship of the Department of Radiology at the Victoria General Hospital. Some of the conditions of acceptance which were forwarded to the Dean of the Faculty of Medicine included support for a research secretary, two additional basic scientists interested in research, the allocation of some research space, and the provision of some basic research funds from the Dean’s budget. Dr. Fraser also had personal discussions with the Dean suggesting his desire to develop a research foundation with the hope of making some funds available for early research projects.

Prior to Dr. Fraser’s acceptance of the chairmanship of the department, he met with the Search Committee at which time he indicated his wish to establish a research fund to be used in support of developing a strong research program in the department.

First Ad Hoc Meeting of a Reseach Committee

This first meeting was held June 28, 1982 to discuss the proposed Radiology Research Foundation. In attendance – Drs. D. Fraser, Chairman, D.R. Campbell, R.M. Miller the existing Chairman of Radiology Research and Development Committee, J.S. Manchester, E. Lund, E. Grantmyre and A.J. Johnson. The chairman informed the group that he had discussed the possible formation of a department research foundation with all university members in the Halifax area individually and subsequently with three members of the Saint John Regional Hospital.

The majority of the members expressed support for this proposal even though there was indication that this may be introduced using a taxing system for each individual member. The proposal was also discussed with the Dean of the Medical School on two occasions at which time there was expressed approval. Background investigation was carried out on the setting up of the proposed foundation and contacts were made with the Internal Revenue Department, the chartered accountant firm of Barrow, Nichol and Company, lawyers Mr. Reg Cluney and Mr. George Caines who were lawyers involved in the legalities of such a foundation, and with Peter Gordon, the Executive Secretary of the Dalhousie Medical Research Foundation.

After considerable discussion, it was generally agreed that this would be called a charitable organization and that heads of hospital departments or their delegates from the Halifax Infirmary, IWK, VGH and Saint John Regional Hospital should be members of the board as well as the chairman of the university department. It was also felt that one or two lay members should be appointed to this board, but it was not necessary to have the existing chairman of the Radiology Research and Development Committee as an active board member. It was also agreed that the university department chairman would draw up more specific proposals with regard to the board membership and the operation of this research foundation and circulate them to the department heads for reaction or approval. In the meantime, if any of the department heads had any difficulties convincing their department members of this proposal, the chairman expressed his willingness to meet with those individuals at any time.

Meeting of the Research Foundation Committee

This took place January 21, 1983 and in attendance were Drs. D. Fraser, Chairman, D.R.Campbell, J.S. Manchester, E. Lund, E. Grantmyre and A.J. Johnson. The objectives of this meeting were to finalize the methods of operation and constitution of the board membership for the proposed Radiology Research Foundation. There was unanimous agreement by the members to accept the chairman of the university department as the chairman of the board. Other members would include the heads of the IWK, HI and Saint John Regional Hospital, the chairman of the Research and Development Committee plus two lay members to make up the board. The committee decided it would attempt to appoint one lay person for the present time and requested Mr. Keith Allen, chartered accountant. Dr. Manchester had discussed this with him at the chairman’s request, and he agreed to serve on this board. It was also agreed that a full board meeting should take place at least twice yearly and at any other time as deemed necessary.

The members agreed that the chairman could make decisions on expenditures up to $2,000 but expenditures over $2,000 required the approval of the board or a quorum of the board representing 75% of the members. The chairman also suggested that three members of the foundation board should make up a subcommittee for finance which would be involved in consideration of investments of the surplus funds in the foundation. All members agreed it would be appropriate to have Drs. Manchester, Grantmyre and Mr. Keith Allen constitute this committee. They would be appointed for a three year term renewable. It was agreed that the chairman would revise the total proposal which was to be submitted to Revenue Canada and circulate this to the members of the board for approval. A meeting of the board of the proposed research foundation was to be called following Revenue Canada’s approval of this application.

Revenue Canada’s Approval of the Radiology Research Foundation

Approval of the Radiology Research Foundation from Revenue Canada came in a letter of November 17, 1983 indicating that the effective date of registration was July 1, 1983 and provided references for rules and regulations with regard to the operation of the Foundation, including a necessity to expend 80% of the previous year’s donations in the subsequent year excluding any interest gained on the charitable fund. There was some flexibility with regard to carryover expenditures, and it was emphasized that an annual summary of the activities of the Foundation must be submitted to Revenue Canada within three months of the end of its fiscal period.

First Official Board of Director’s Meeting

The first official meeting of the Radiology Research Foundation Board of Directors was held February 7, 1984. In attendance were D.B. Fraser, Mr. R. Fiske (the second lay member of the Foundation Board), J.S. Manchester (previous Department Chair), A.J. Johnson (Head of Radiology at the Halifax Infirmary), and C.L. Belcourt (Head of Radiology at the IWK).

Foundation Objectives. Dr. Fraser stated the objectives of the Foundation were to enhance and develop research activity of the Dalhousie Radiology Department and also to increase collaboration with other well established research programs. The following items were placed on the agenda for discussion:

1. Appointment of research director, either radiologist, PhD, full time, part time, shared.
2. Support Personnel
3. Funding
4. Commencement Date
5. Research space

The type of appointment of the research director (either full time, part time or shared) was felt to be dependent on funding which led to considerable discussion as to commencement date. The chairman indicated he had hoped the initial year of operation would have donations of somewhere between $33,000 and $40,000 based on the $1,000 per person commitment and yearly thereafter until the Foundation was in a position where this could be reduced if funds accumulated significantly. The generation of extra funds could be through the researcher with research grant applications, private and corporate donations, funds through the Dalhousie Medical Research Foundation, x-ray companies by collaborative research and donations, Medical Research Council, or cost sharing with another department.

The chairman stated that Dalhousie’s Vice-President of Research has been approached for ideas and that Mr. Robert Stanfield has been appointed by Dalhousie to approach corporations and foundations in order to raise money for capital expenditures for the university. Dr. Fraser made a presentation on magnetic resonance to Mr. Stanfield and he agreed to make an effort to raise some funds for such a unit. Further discussion on the designation of fiscal year was to take place with IWK and HI faculty before the final designation. With regard to research space, the chairman mentioned the Animal Lab at the Tupper Building as a possible site and the fact that second hand equipment has been installed recently for the purpose of basic research. It was also felt the researcher could move independently among hospitals in relation to work and eventually there would be space allotted in the ACC redesign for the researcher and support personnel. The Finance Committee made up of Drs. Manchester and Grantmyre and Mr. Allen were to consider management of investments and, subsequently, Mr. Ralph Fiske, an experienced business man and previous politician, agreed to serve on this committee as well.

Funding Commitments

The chairman sent letters to department faculty members encouraging all of them to make a commitment of $1,000 each to the newly approved Foundation. The chairman subsequently met with each individual department including the PIC group at the VG, the HI group, the IWK group and the faculty at Saint John Regional Hospital. The PIC group at the VG department committed to make an annual donation from their partnership funds at $1,000 per person. At that time none of the other hospital groups were unanimous in their support, but many of the individuals in each department agreed to support the Foundation. The chairman subsequently wrote letters of solicitation to many corporations, primarily those who were regular suppliers of equipment to radiology departments.

  • October 1985 Agfa-Gevaert Canada Limited $6500 for a computer
  • November 1985 Mr. M. Vezina, DuPont committed $2,000 over 2 years
  • November 1985 Winthrop Laboratories $1,000
  • November 5, 1985 Squibb Canada $1,000
  • 1988 DuPont $50,000 over 5 years

In 1998 the HI partnership agreed to unanimously support the Foundation at the requested rate of $1,000 per person per year. Their first donation was $8,000 in that year. Subsequently letters were sent to all the Nova Scotia radiologists soliciting funds to support the Research Foundation, but this appeal executed in several years met with disappointing results.

Appeal to Revenue Canada for Flexibility of Expenditures

The Foundation Board was concerned about the inability to accumulate significant funds if we had to adhere to the 80% expenditure following the previous year of donations, thus the chairman phoned Ms. G. Cook-Angus of the Charities Division Revenue Canada Taxation asking for forgiveness and at the time verbal approval was given. On November 28 the Board received a letter from this individual indicating where there was flexibility in the charitable organization rules and regulations. Needless to say we were relieved with this ruling. The Board’s initial objective was to build this Foundation corpus to the one million dollar range.

Original Board of Directors

  • Dr. D.B. Fraser, Chair Dr. A.J. Johnson
  • Mr. J. Keith Allen Dr. E. Lund
  • Dr. C. Belcourt Dr. J. S. Manchester
  • Mr. R. Fiske Dr. R. M. Miller

Acknowledgement and Subsequent Direction

I would like to express my appreciation to the principal individuals who were involved in the initiative of developing our Department of Radiology Research Foundation including the then incumbent University Radiology Department Heads from the teaching hospitals, the Foundation Board members and the Chairs of the various research committees. Special thanks to Dr. Stewart Manchester, previous Department Chair, for his sage advice given freely for this initiative and then serving on the Foundation Board.

It is not necessary to relate the subsequent story of the Foundation since the records speak for themselves. The growth and development of the research program in the Radiology Department has been admirable largely due to the support of the Foundation along with the Ozvegy Endowment.

I would like to thank all Foundation Board members including our volunteer staff, Cathy Chambers for accounting and Sharon O’Driscoll, the Board secretary who also has been primarily responsible for this historical account.

David B. Fraser, MD, FRCPC
Professor Emeritus
Dalhousie University